WINCHESTER - On Tuesday, May 25, a student-led Black Lives Matter walkout took place at the Acera School to honor the anniversary of George Floyd's death. Students at Acera School, a K-10 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) school in Winchester, and members of the Acera Activist Coalition, participated in the walkout, which consisted of speeches in support of Black Lives Matter. The student-led Acera Activist Coalition recognizes that systemic racism affects all levels of society and supports Black Lives Matter as a transformative historical moment.
Students marched from Acera to Bellino Park on the corner of Main and Swanton streets. At the park, several students gave speeches and knelt for nine minutes of silence. The Acera Activist Coalition took time to answer a few questions for The Daily Times Chronicle. They said that students partook in this walkout because this is an issue that is still actively important, and that was a perfect moment to be reflecting on it. There were around 45-55 people that took part in this walkout with at least 46 students and eight adults from the school.
The event lasted about an hour and 15 minutes. There was a 20-minute walk with signs in each direction, 35 minutes of speeches, a five-minute poem, and a 9 minute 29 second period of silent kneeling. The students who gave speeches were Calvin Collins, Ash Carreiro, Malia Sodorland (reciting Amanda Gorman's poem from Inauguration Day), and Ezra Schwarz.
Carreiro commented that "Calvin's use of a few simple statistics was really powerful. I loved how he took three or four simple, easy-to-understand statistics and detailed just how much racism there is in the so-called 'justice system.'"
The Activist Coalition stated that "Ezra's ad-libbing additional reflection on how long 9 minutes and 29 seconds was incredibly powerful."
Carreiro said, "that legit gave me goosebumps."
The Coalition agreed that Carreiro's section of their speech, "We, the youth…" was really powerful, empowering, and also very passionate.
The event was very successful because the actual turnout far exceeded the expected turnout. As they were speaking and marching the crowd grew more energized and enthusiastic, especially during Carreiro’s speech and at the end of Collins’ speech. They felt that the students who had not ever been in a protest felt empowered to stand up and not just stand by. There were also a variety of opinions on this topic as there were both positive responses from passerby’s and some very negative ones even telling the students to “get a job.”